An Experiential Account of an Ethnography of Barkas: An Arabian Colony in Hyderabad

Author Name

D Anushyama Mukherjee

Author Address

Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad. anushyama mukherjee


Barkas, Arabian Diaspora in India


This paper is based on an ethnographic account of an Arabian community called Barkas in Hyderabad (India). Barkas is a neighbourhood in Hyderabad that used to serve as military barracks of the Nizam of Hyderabad. The word is believed to have derived from English word Barracks. The area is also known as ‘Little Arabia.’ The migrants settled in barracks on the outskirt of the city. Most of the residents of the colony are inhabitants of Yemen and Arabia. The primary question in this paper is to look at how migrants from this neighbourhood construct multiple homeland/s and cultural identities with regard to language, race, gender differences, food and dress. The social setting of this neighbourhood made it unique from the rest of the city of Hyderabad and could be popularly known as ghetto  community. Post 1970s this  community has also made their mark in the Gulf countries by doing various kinds of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs and it is  also popularly known as an area from where every household has atleast one member working in Gulf countries.As an researcher being an outsider to their community, access to them was a challenge. Illegal businesses and gender segregation has made this community a closed community and made the accessibility even more difficult. . Ethnographic field work included observation, in-depth interviews, participant observation and situational conversations throughout the period. The experience of being a researcher in Barkas has been quite fascinating. 


International Conference on Migration, Diaspora and Development
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